ST. GEORGE — A plea agreement was presented by the defense attorney representing Sarah Elizabeth Rutz on Wednesday at a resolution hearing before Washington County’s Fifth District Court Judge James L. Shumate.
Rutz was arrested in September 2012 and was charged with three class-B misdemeanors for making a false police report claiming she had been raped and a second-degree felony charge for fraudulently accepting funds from the state victim reparations fund.
Defense attorney Kenneth Combs appeared in court along with Rutz and told Shumate that Rutz would agree to plead guilty to a third-degree felony fraud charge and one class-B misdemeanor charge of false information to the police. Two of the misdemeanor counts for false information would be dismissed.
Rutz would serve 30 days in jail, in two day periods at a time, on weekends or other days of the week and she would be required to complete a two-year probation. Upon successful completion of her sentence and probation the third-degree felony fraud charge would be reduced to a Class-A misdemeanor, Combs said.
Senior Deputy Washington County Attorney Brian Filter was present during the hearing and said that he agreed with the terms of the plea.
The charges stem from a report that Rutz made to police in May 2012 that she had been raped while jogging on a bike path that leads to a tunnel that goes under Sunset Boulevard.
During the investigation police uncovered deleted emails exchanged in April 2012 between Rutz and a married man that she had met on Craigslist.
According to testimony presented at the preliminary hearing in January 2013 by St. George Police Det. Terrance Taylor, Rutz came up with the rape story to cover up the affair.
The fraud charges result from Rutz filing a false claim with the state’s crime victim reparation fund and accepting those funds. The reparation fund is designed to assist crime victims with expenses that are a direct result of being a victim of a crime.
Shumate ordered that a presentencing investigation be conducted and that Rutz appear for sentencing on May 7 at 10 a.m.
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